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What Is So Special About Scottish Clothing?

Sujata Iyer May 4, 2019
Scottish clothing has always been a matter of fascination for many. This post has the scoop on how the clothing evolved and how it became what it is today. Read about it and check if you think you can get one for yourself.
There's something about Scottish clothing that seems to invoke a sense of patriotism in the person. Maybe it's the defiant history behind it or the simply gorgeous plaid pattern. Whatever it is, it is one of the most well preserved traditional outfits that we see today.
Even though Scottish kilts are not worn on a daily basis today (but obvious), they still are a great hit whenever they are worn. Wearing this typical Scottish piece of clothing is reserved for some special occasions like weddings, national ceremonies, etc. Let's see some information about how this dress came to be.

The Scottish Kilt

Kilts are the most popular form of clothing that represent the Scottish Highland males. To the ignorant, a kilt is merely a skirt that men playing bagpipes wear.
However, there is an interesting history behind the kilts that we see today, that look nothing like what they originally used to. The first kilts were robe-like garments that were worn over a tunic or a long shirt. This has been thought to be a Roman influence.
Later, when it was seen that they were quite uncomfortable to wear in the wet Scottish climate, these garments were modified by keeping the light robe underneath (the kilt) as it was, and discarding the rest, as was done by the Highlanders during battles. So, the kilt that we see today is the much modified version of the original kilt.
Today's version is a skirt made using tartan plaid patterns in colors that originally represented the region from where the person hailed. The plaid pattern is nothing but a checkered design, made by using woolen threads of different colors, to form a vertical and horizontal design, called a 'sett'.
It is said that kilts became more popular with the people after it was banned by King George II in 1746, by passing the Dress Act. This antagonized the Highlanders and they began to wear it despite the ban, thus imbibing immense patriotic feelings into the kilt. This made the kilt a symbol of Scottish pride and nationality.

Accessories to the Scottish Kilt

A completely authentic Scottish kilt is incomplete without all its wonderful accessories. The first one is a leather belt that is tied around the waist.
A sporran is a small leather pouch that is attached to the kilt. This enables the men to keep small objects or money in it. A kilt pin is fastened to the front panel of the kilt.
Then, comes the sgian dubh or the kilt knife, a small knife with an ornate handle, kept inside the socks of the wearer. The socks which rise up to the knees are called hose. They can pe plain or plaid patterned.
The shoes worn by the Highlanders are called ghillie brogues and are made from leather. These shoes have one peculiar feature. They don't have tongues. This helps them to dry faster in the damp climate. Also, they have laces that are tied at the ankles to ensure that they don't come off easily.

Scottish Clothing for Women

That was all about men's clothing in Scotland. Women too have their own way of dressing. They generally wear skirts, but unlike the knee length kilts that men wear. They wear ankle length skirts, also made from tartan fabric.
Along with the tartan skirt, they use a sash or shawl, also made from tartan cloth on the top or blouse that they wear. The shoes that women wear are also called ghillies. They look almost like the ones that the men wear. However, they do have one difference.
The soles of the shoes that women wear are much thinner than the ones that men wear. This makes it much more comfortable to wear inside the house and also to go dancing.
Scottish clothing today has undergone a lot of changes. Today, traditional kilts are worn very rarely, and only on special occasions. Also, today, a specific type of tartan pattern is not reserved only for a particular person or family.
You can wear one even if the pattern does not belong to your 'clan'. So, get yourself one of these amazing Scottish kilts tailor made to ensure that it fits perfectly.